Chesterfield nightclub boss tells murder trial how he chased man accused of killing former soldier but he 'escaped over a fence'

A Chesterfield nightclub manager has described how he chased the man accused of murdering a former soldier after he saw him hit him in the face with a bottle.

Joseph Robotham died after he fell to the ground and fractured his skull outside the Vibe Bar in Holywell Street in the town in the early hours of Saturday, February 8 last year.

He was rushed to hospital where doctors fought to save his life, but he died of head wounds the following day, Derby Crown Court has heard.

Connor Rose, of no fixed address has admitted manslaughter but denies murdering the 23-year-old, from Sheffield Road, Old Whittington.

Joseph Robotham died following an incident outside Chesterfield's Vibe Bar

Giving evidence on Tuesday, January 26, Thomas Crookes, told the court that he had gone to Vige after finishing his shift as the bar manager of the nearby Ritzy’s club.

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He said that he went to help doorstaff after he saw Mr Robotham get into a fight with another man and assisted in escorting both men out of the venue.

“I heard a smash and what I can only describe as a sickening thud,” he told the court. “I saw a man wearing a black puffer coat walking away.

“It was a brisk walk and he was heading towards the Winding Wheel. I chased him almost as far as the doughnut island, but didn’t catch up with him.”

He told the court that he and two other men then borrowed a car and caught up with Rose on Sheffield Road.

“We were coming down Sheffield Road and Mr Rose was coming back towards Chesterfield,” he said. “I got out and chased him onto Newbold Street but he jumped over a fence.

“When we got back to the club, the man was still on the ground and someone was cradling his neck.”

Another witness, Vibe barman Ben Tustin, described Rose making contact with Mr Robotham and said he had ended up lying unconscious between two parked cars.

“He came out of nowhere and I heard glass smashing,” he said. “He walked with a bit of pace out of the fire door and I saw him swing with his right hand and it connected to the top of the head area.”

The trial continues.

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